Patient advocacy is the act of representing and supporting the needs, rights, and best interests of a patient. This can include advocating for the patient’s physical, emotional, and social well-being, as well as their access to quality healthcare services.
As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), one of your primary roles and responsibilities is to play a crucial role in patient advocacy. You are often the first point of contact for patients and their families, and you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their healthcare experience. You may be called upon to advocate for a patient’s needs and preferences, communicate their concerns to nursing staff and other healthcare professionals, and assist with decision-making and informed consent.
By advocating for patients, CNAs can help ensure that they receive the best possible care and support, and that their rights and dignity are respected. This is a vital part of the CNA’s role, and it requires compassion, understanding, and the ability to communicate effectively with patients and their families.
The role of a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in patient advocacy is to represent and support the needs, rights, and best interests of patients. This may involve a variety of activities, including:
- Assisting with patient care and comfort: As a CNA, you may be responsible for providing basic nursing care to patients, such as bathing, dressing, and assisting with mobility. By providing this care in a compassionate and respectful manner, you can help ensure that patients feel comfortable and supported during their healthcare journey.
- Communicating patient needs and concerns to nursing staff: It is important for CNAs to listen to patients and their families and to convey any concerns or issues they may have to the nursing staff. This can help ensure that patients receive timely and appropriate care, and that their needs are met.
- Assisting with decision-making and informed consent: CNAs may be called upon to assist patients and their families with understanding their treatment options and the potential risks and benefits of each option. This may involve helping patients to make informed decisions about their care and treatment.
- Advocating for patient rights and dignity: As a CNA, you may be in a position to advocate for patients’ rights and dignity, particularly when they may not be able to speak for themselves. This may involve standing up for a patient’s right to privacy, confidentiality, and autonomy, and ensuring that their rights are respected.
Overall, the role of a CNA in patient advocacy is to act as an advocate for the needs and best interests of patients, and to help ensure that they receive the best possible care and support.
So how can CNAs use their roles and responsibilities to ensure that they are representing the interests of their patients? Here are a few examples of how you can help your patients:
- Assisting with pain management: If a patient is experiencing pain, a CNA may advocate for them by working with the nursing staff to develop a pain management plan that is tailored to the patient’s needs. This may involve administering pain medication or assisting the patient with other pain management techniques, such as relaxation techniques or massages.
- Helping patients navigate the healthcare system: Many patients may feel overwhelmed or confused by the healthcare system, especially if they are new to it or have a complex medical condition. As a CNA, you can advocate for patients by helping them to understand their treatment options, find resources for support, and navigate the healthcare system.
- Protecting patients from harm or abuse: If a patient is at risk of harm or abuse, it is important for CNAs to advocate for their safety and well-being. This may involve reporting any concerns to the nursing staff or appropriate authorities, and working with the patient to develop a plan to protect them from harm.
In each of these examples, the CNA is acting as an advocate for the patient, ensuring that their needs and rights are being respected and that they are receiving the best possible care.
Overall, the role of a CNA in patient advocacy is vital to the healthcare system. By advocating for the needs and rights of patients, you can help ensure that they receive the best possible care and support, and that their dignity is respected. This is an important and rewarding aspect of the CNA’s role, and it requires compassion, understanding, and the ability to communicate effectively with patients and their families.
Photo by Anna Shvets
Michael Schultz, RN
Michael Schultz is a registered nurse with work experience at Sparrow Health, Holland Home Rehab, Ingham Regional Medical, and Spectrum Health. He has worked as a medical and surgical nurse and has expertise in gastrointestinal medicine. Michael graduated from LCC in 2003 and subsequently worked admitting patients at Sparrow ER/Urgent Care for 2 years. After that, Michael worked for 6 years at Ingham Regional Medical Center, followed by 7 years in Gastrointestinal/Genitourinary at Spectrum Health.